Dare To Grow A Wild Garden

Linda Wiggen Kraft

By Linda Wiggen Kraft

I have a new hero in the world of loving and working with gardens, Mary Reynolds. She is an Irish garden designer whose new book and a movie based on her true fairytale story of winning a gold medal in 2002 at the world’s most prestigious garden show, the Chelsea Flower Show in London, were just released. The story of how twenty eight year old Reynolds created a garden at Chelsea is now told in a film called Dare to be Wild. She was the youngest person to ever win a gold prize and also the first from Ireland. Her recently published book The Garden Awakening shares mystical, magical and practical wisdom that all gardeners can gain when they heed the call of the wild and learn to love nature more than gardens.

Reynolds specializes in “wild” gardens. A wild garden is a lifeline to the wild land that speaks deeply into the soul and heart of humans and all life on this garden of earth. Wild places are calling to be saved, cherished and brought into everyday life. This calling was heard by a young Reynolds before her 2002 win. This win set her on a path to commissions at Kew Garden in London, Brigit’s Garden outside Galway and wild gardening available to all of us. At Kew she created a garden with a larger than life reclining mother earth mound with a path to her ear where people could whisper their wishes and let them take root in the earth. Brigit’s Garden honors the Celtic festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasa. Her book let’s us in on ways to bring wildness home.

Wild places are those sacred and unspoiled nature spaces where the soil, rocks, plants, birds, animals, and insects have a language that can be heard by deep listening. It is this listening that is a major part of creating a wild garden, according to Reynolds who now only works with clients who are committed to working with the land themselves in an honoring relationship of communion and communication. These gardeners co-create with the wishes of the land in ever evolving growth.

Reynolds has her own suggestions for deep listening and becoming family with the land. In her book she shares one called “beating the boundaries” based on a long-standing Irish ritual. It is a way for the land to know your intentions and that they are working with it not against it. By walking the edges of your property, and feeling the land through feet and heart, a relationship is established. Singing a song, beating a drum or hitting stones together along with an open heart pouring out positive feelings to the earth allows a kinship to grow. There are other mythical and magical practices along with what are considered more practical garden practices like compost tea and soil restoration in Reynold’s wisdom. But to learn to love nature more than gardens, it is important to balance myth, magic and practical to create a wild and true garden.

Note: The Gardening Awakening book sold out its first day on Amazon UK. It can be purchased now at BookDepository.com from the UK. It will be available in the U.S. in September.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also a mandala artist and workshop leader. Visit her blog: CreativityForTheSoul.com/blog or website: CreativityForTheSoul.com. Contact her at (314) 504-4266.